“The Next Generation” with Andy Stanley

Insights from Andy Stanley at The Drive Conference 2022 – at North Point in Atlanta:

We are to be good stewards of the faith of the next generation.

The true enemy of the church is division (not political parties, not bad theology, and not even the devil).

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. – John 17:20-23

We have lost our influence among half the country through these last few years, and it happens the younger half!

Sub-title for this conference is “Because We’re Not There Yet”

The version of the faith we pass on to the next generation has to be able to handle the rigors of adulthood.

I cannot control whether or not my kids believe, but I can control how I live out my faith.

It’s not the Gospel but the version of how it’s lived out that keeps people from staying with their faith.

What is the faith of the next generation worth? – Everything!!

Change your budgets, your music, or anything necessary to help the next generation discover a faith that can handle the rigors of adulthood.

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” – Acts 15:19

We want to be an irresistible church and a church for the unchurched AND not give up on the kids that are growing up with us.

When people’s faith begins to grow up, it feels like they are leaving their faith. They are actually leaving the version of their faith they had when they were in Sunday School.

A faith that can’t grow up is easy to deconstruct.

“We learned about God about the same time we learned about Santa Claus. But while our understanding of Santa Claus, our faith in God remains infantile.” – Karen Armstrong

The Faith of the Next Generation Is Worth…

1. Tether their faith to the resurrection and the person of Jesus.

If you find a person who can predict their death and resurrection then do whatever they say!

Nobody was expecting no body.

For 300 years of Christianity no follower of Jesus said: “The Bible says…”

Most deconstruction people respond with “Well let me tell you what else the BIble says….”

Is Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John a reliable account of actual events? If so, then that is the foundation of our faith!

2. Shifting from believing to following Jesus.

Following Jesus will make your life better and make you better at life.

Believing does not do that. We have to follow which means actually obeying.
Believing makes faith a reference point.
Believing in Jesus but following anything else is not what we are wanting to create.
Every Jesus follower has a plan for how they plan to support your church financially, but not every believer.

3. Leading our churches to acknowledge there are gay people and not just straight people with a sin problem.

What environment do we ever go to a place over and over where I am not sure I am accepted

Never take someone’s church away from them unnecessarily.
Pastors who declare they are affirming or not affirming are taking the church away from someone unnecessarily.

Pastors set direction and monitor the pace of their congregation. Pastors are not pacesetters.

People in our church are smart but they are busy. They aren’t thinking about all these things like we are!

Lead, navigate, and disciple.

4. Involving the next generation in ministry as early and as consistently as possible.

Involve kids in serving in church before they realize they aren’t supposed to be serving. 🙂

Build serving others as what kids and students do into your model.

5. The effort and expense to recruit and train great small group leaders and effective stage communicators.

Always sacrifice the one for the many and not the many for the one.

Don’t bore children with the Word of God! Too many kids grow up feeling like the Bible is irrelevant and church is boring so wonder they walk away.

The goal is not just taking care of kids.

6. Living and leading in a way that removes any doubt as to whether we believe what we’re inviting them to believe.

“We now see young evangelicals walking away from evangelicalism not because they do not believe what the church teaches, but because they believe the church itself does not believe what the church teaches. The presenting issue in this secularization is not scientism and hedonism but disillusionment and cynicism.”

Russel Moore of Christianity Today

We want people to say about us: “I am not sure I believe what they do, but they are sincere. They are not hypocrites!”

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